The Obama Legacy in American Electoral Participation
Lyn Ragsdale examines the 2016 election of Donald Trump as president and the voting behavior and the nature of the turnout during the Obama years, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014. The election of the first black president represented an historical sharp turn in American politics and race relations but what does it say about his electoral legacy? Lyn Ragsdale asserts that turnout in American elections is often considered to be low but during the 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014 elections, it hit levels last seen in the 1960s. This chapter examines the nature of the turnout during the Obama years. It considers how a high degree of uncertainty in the national campaign context pushed the turnout higher. It also examines which groups in America were most responsible for the increased participation. Despite exhortations from President Obama, turnout in 2016 among people of color went down and turnout among whites went up. What is somewhat ironic is that some of the people who supported Obama also supported Donald Trump.